Why saying ‘he’s in a better place’ can be a dangerous phrase

grief, in a better place

I made a pledge when Charles died by suicide not to nitpick what people said to me after his death. After all, it is so hard to know what to say. I was overjoyed if someone said anything at all.

To be honest, the worst thing you can say is nothing at all. So don’t fret if you have used the “better place” expression.

Here is my issue with it

When we say “better place” we could potentially be glorifying heaven as a destination. Basically you could be promoting an early exit since you are implying the place after death is “better” than where we are now. And we don’t want to promote suicide.

If it was for sure that great, why aren’t we all shooting ourselves to get there faster? That’s a blunt way of putting it but perhaps you see the irony of it that way.

To me, there is no better place for my child than right here on earth with me. At my table at Thanksgiving, in my home celebrating his birthday with a poorly decorated cake made by me.

So while I will never ever hold it against you, the “better place” phrase is not my favorite. And from conversations of other mothers in this club, it’s not their fave either. In fact some tell me it makes them cringe.

Personally, I still have a lot of things to accomplish here on earth. So heaven will have to wait no matter how glorious it is.

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Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and currently working on getting a book published. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory.

2 thoughts on “Why saying ‘he’s in a better place’ can be a dangerous phrase”

  1. I agree. It feels too dismissive of the pain you are feeling almost as if to imply you should be glad. Mercy for ones that don’t know what to say.

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